Socks on the mind
First things first – they’re done!
Eunny Jang’s Bayerische socks had been in my “to knit” list ever since I found them…in 2006. In January 2010, I bought the yarn for them off a Ravelry user – 2 skeins of Malabrigo Sock in Tiziano Red – and earmarked them for a Ravelympics project. We may need to back up for some of you; Ravelry is an online community for knitters and crocheters, and is awesome. The Ravelympics happen whenever the Olympics are on – you commit to knitting a project during the course of the Games. Well, I didn’t quite expect to get these done during the Olympics, but I had hoped to use that as an impetus to get started on a long-awaited project.
So, in February of 2010, I set to work. Newly-enamored with the Widdershins heel from my Interlocking Leaves project finished the month before (pattern here, my project on Rav here), I decided I’d work the pattern toe-up. And, because I’m a loose knitter and drop down a needle size on everything, I figured I should go from a 0 down to a 00, just to be safe. And set to work…and got pretty far:
And then, I realized I wasn’t happy. One problem was the size. I’d been so anxious to turn the heel that I did so just a bit too soon, and the toes felt cramped. And on the 00 needles, the luscious softness of Malabrigo Sock was lost, feeling stiff and inelastic. They were like cardboard compared to the Interlocking Leaves, and people couldn’t believe it was the same yarn. I was feeling dejected. So I put them away for a while…
side note: this is a teachable moment – gauge is not absolute. The gauge given for a particular pattern does not correspond to some golden mean, it most likely corresponds to the designer’s own gauge, particularly in a self-published pattern that hasn’t been test-knit and run through an editorial board. And, in this case, I’d forgotten that although Eunny Jang is a superstar and an amazingly fast knitter, she’s also a loose knitter, just like me, and that her gauge and mine are pretty interchangeable on her patterns. D’oh!
And then I took pretty pictures, and ripped them out. Rip rip rip. My husband was cringing, asking if I couldn’t salvage them, but no, I couldn’t, and away they went, back into the skein, into the sink to soak, and rolled back into a new ball to start over, top-down, size 0. Re-started sock 1 in September ’10, finished at the end of April ’11 (amidst a flurry of other knitting in the middle, Sylvi coat included).
Then, I realized I had a deadline – Sock Summit! You’ll certainly be hearing more from me about this convention of sock knitters (only 2 weeks away!), but for now, suffice it to say that I wanted my knee-high beauties done for the end of July. So, I balled up skein #2, cast on, and went at it, full force. I got to the calf decreases, compared to the first sock to make sure I’d done the same number of repeats, and noticed something horrible. Terrible!
The second sock, with the exact same number of rows, was about 1″ too short, at only a third of the way completed.
But, denial is my friend. Oh yes. “Maybe it’ll stretch in the wash.” “I haven’t tried it on as many times as the other one, so it’s probably going to stretch out.” “It doesn’t bother me.” Ha…ha..ha. So, I continued knitting on the sock for another month. And then I bit the bullet, and ripped it all out again, skeined up the yarn, washed it, dried it, rolled it into another ball, and set out for the last time.
I started sock #2 on June 12ish, while on vacation at J’s parents’ house, and I had a couple of hours of uninterrupted knitting each day, which helped significantly. I was in the zone, knocking out an inch of Bavarian twisted cable stitches an hour. I kept at it solidly (well, knitting a few things in the meanwhile), and finally, they’re done, with plenty of time for Sock Summit!